DUBAI: Dubai’s agenda-setting position at the crossroads of global food and beverage trade will be further amplified when scores of government delegations, trade ministers and tens of thousands of food industry professionals descend on the 24th edition of Gulfood, which opens at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) on Sunday 17 February.
Running until 21st February, Gulfood 2019 comes as global consumer spending on food and non-alcoholic beverages climbed USD600 billion to reach USD7.2 trillion in 2018 – equating to 8.6 per cent of worldwide GDP – according to the Gulfood Global Industry Outlook Report 2019 produced by Euromonitor International, which will be released at the show.
And with the Outlook Report predicting Africa and the Middle East will drive global population growth from 7.6 billion in 2018 to 8.5 billion by 2030, the 24th edition of the world’s largest annual food and beverage trade show will welcome the world as Dubai solidifies its strategic position as a trade gateway linking established Western markets with core growth markets of the East.
As a tailored platform for F&B specialists from all corners of the globe, Gulfood 2019 will cover more than 1,000,000 square feet of DWTC exhibition space as over 5,000 local, regional and international exhibitors converge to launch thousands of new-to-market products and solutions to meet emerging trends and shifting consumer choices.
Government delegations and trade ministers
During five days of frenetic trading and negotiating, top-level envoys from 120 countries will be showcasing the latest range of products across the key F&B market sectors, including three first-time country pavilions namely, the European Union, Bulgaria and New Zealand, highlighting Gulfood’s far-reaching appeal as the industry platform for trading.
“Gulfood is the largest annual food and beverage trade fair in the world,” said EU Commissioner Phil Hogan. “It is only natural for the EU – the world’s leading exporter and importer of agri-food products – to be so visible here thanks to the presence of its Member States and the EU pavilion. This event is a great opportunity for the business people from the UAE and all over the world to find out more about the EU’s excellence in producing authentic and safe food to the highest quality standards.”
Additionally, new individual country participants include Guatemala, Iraq, Luxembourg, Maldives, Nepal, Norway, Papua New Guinea and Tanzania.
Capitalising on Dubai’s strategic position as a re-export hub for the region and beyond, Gulfood 2019 has once again attracted high-calibre participation from North, South, East and West, from the Americas to Australia and further afield.
Jaclyn Symes, the Minister for Agriculture, Regional Development and Resources in the state of Victoria, who will lead a delegation from the Australian state of Victoria, added: “We’ve set an ambitious target to grow our food and fibre exports to $20 billion by 2030 and we’re well on our way to achieving that thanks to our innovation and hard-working farmers. As the food and beverage capital of Australia, we’re proud to put Victoria’s premium produce on world’s largest stage at Gulfood.
“International markets such as the UAE are critical to the success of our agriculture sector,” added Symes. “Our imports to the Middle East have seen an increase of 24 per cent over the past year and our presence at Gulfood highlights our strong commitment to the region. We have 36 Victorian food and beverage companies and producers joining this mission.”
Innovation Summit & Tastes of the World top new features bill
With a three-decade history of linking global food trade through Dubai, Gulfood 2019 will house a range of interactive features designed to reinforce the show’s enabling role in raising the international food industry forum bar.
Running alongside the main exhibition, the three-day Gulfood Innovation Summit will see some of the biggest names in the industry, leading thought leaders and major disruptors to examine the latest challenges and opportunities facing the industry in a diverse range of keynote sessions and panel discussions. Tastes of the World meanwhile, will see Michelin-starred chefs and kitchen captains showing off their skills in a range of masterclasses and live cook-offs.
Renowned Jordanian TV chef, Manal Al Alem, will be amongst the regional talent shining a light on distinctive dishes and flavours from around the world.
“As chefs we thrive on sharing our love for food and demonstrating the versatility of the tools and ingredients we work with. Tastes of the World is a unique platform to demonstrate the diversity of cooking to a captive and engaged audience,” said Chef Manal, who is known as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Kitchen’. “I’m really excited to be joining such an illustrious line-up of chefs bringing global tastes to Gulfood – it is an honour to put Arabian cuisine in the spotlight.”
Other new features at Gulfood 2019, which is being held under the theme The World of Good. The World of Food, include Tea House, which will demonstrate the versality of tea with masterclasses, tasting sessions, food pairings and other insights; Barbecue Masters, which features live cooking contests and demonstrations by world-renowned chefs and open-fire pit masters, and the first-ever Gulfood International Culinary League, a one-day competition where four teams of world-renowned chefs will take on the challenge of preparing world-class cuisines. Elsewhere, CxO Club is an invite-only social breakfast club for industry decision-makers and free-styling food executives.
“Gulfood continues to attract a who’s who of industry captains, major decision-makers and food trade disruptors to do business, network, explore new opportunities and get up-to-date insights on the latest trends at a globally-recognised and critical event for food industry professionals,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Events and Exhibitions at DWTC.
Gulfood 2019 is a trade event open strictly to business and trade visitors. The show is open 11am-7pm from February 17 – 20 and 11am-5pm on February 21. BIZ TODAY REPORT